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The Tesla Model S Plaid may be one of the fastest production electric cars, with a top speed of 200 mph. But it’s no match for the Vesco 444 “Little Giant,” an electric car (if you can call it a car) purpose-built to be fast. So fast, in fact, that it holds the national record for the fastest electric vehicle. So let’s dive into the tech and specs of the Little Giant, to see how it reached that achievement.

The Vesco 444 is the fastest electric car in the world

The world record run happened on October 4th, where Team Vesco partnered with reVolt Systems to stuff 1,152 lithium-ion batteries inside their fully electric car. Sculpted like an aircraft fuselage, and equipped with a parachute to slow down from each run, the Vesco 444 made two runs up and down the Bonneville Salt Flats. And afterwards, recorded an average of 353 miles per hour.

Though, that’s not the fastest speed the vehicle achieved. On one run, the Vesco 444 hit 357 miles per hour. And the 353 mph average is 12 mph faster than the old record. Though, nowhere near the Thrust SSC, which can break the sound barrier using two turbine jets.

As you would expect, the Vesco 444 isn’t going to be mass-produced (as cool as it would be). But that doesn’t mean this electric Vesco 444 is the only Vesco 444 ever built.

The Vesco 444 name has been around for a while

The Vesco 444 at the Bonneville Salt Flats circa 1974
The Vesco 444 at the Bonneville Salt Flats circa 1974 | Eric Rickman/The Enthusiast Network via Getty Images/Getty Images

Ever since 1957, in fact, when John Vesco sent the original Vesco 444 down the Bonneville Salt Flats using the engine from a Ford Model B (a car that was in production from 1932-1934). The design looked similar to, but not exactly like the electric Vesco 444. It didn’t set records at the time, only hitting speeds of 163 mph. But that wouldn’t stop the Vesco family from coming back time and time again.

In 1963, the Vesco 444 returned with a newer, smaller 1.8-liter engine (the Ford Model B was 2.0-liter) that got the car up to 229 mph. Then in 1985, the Vesco was fitted with a Chevy 332 cu-inch engine that got the car to 295 mph.

But the title of fastest Vesco ever built (and the fastest wheel-driven car ever) doesn’t belong to the Vesco 444 lineage. The fastest Vesco 444 hit speeds of just over 400 miles per hour. The Vesco 111 however, is the team’s speed demon.

The Vesco 111 is the fastest wheel-driven car ever built

As mentioned, the fastest non-wheel-powered car is the Thurst SSC by a wide margin. But the Vesco 111 holds the record, with a recorded speed of 503 miles per hour. To put into perspective how fast that is, the car needs three and a half miles to come to a stop.

It’s nicknamed the Tubinator and is rated at 5,000 horsepower at 16,0000 rpm, the car is the first wheeled-driven vehicle to reach speeds of over 500 miles per hour.

The Vesco name has been through various generations of speed. And now, Vesco holds both the fastest wheeled vehicle record and the fastest electric vehicle record. An impressive feat over 60 years in the making.